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Series / Derek

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Derek is a British television Comedy-Drama written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais and co-starring Kerry Godliman, Karl Pilkington and David Earl. The pilot was produced by Derek Productions Ltd. for Channel 4 and aired on 12 April 2012.

On 9 May 2012, Channel 4 announced that it had commissioned a full series, which began airing on 30 January 2013. On 4 March 2013 (two days before the final episode of the first series was aired), it was announced that Derek had been re-commissioned for a second series.

The series became available for streaming on Netflix on 12 September 2013.

Gervais plays 49-year-old Derek Noakes, a care worker in a home for the elderly who has worked there for three years. He likes watching reality television shows and game shows and is interested in celebrities, fame, YouTube, and above all, talking about animals. He is kind, helpful, and selfless, with good intentions. He is vulnerable because of his childlike naivety and lack of intelligence. He is ridiculed and ostracised, as well as being marginalised by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness, unattractiveness, and lack of inhibitions. Derek says it is more important to be kind than to be clever or good-looking. Many media sources describe him as autistic, although Gervais himself has always stated that Derek is not mentally disabled.


Contains the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Derek himself, who is certainly far below average intelligence.
  • Amusing Injuries
  • Author Appeal: Ricky Gervais has very clearly inserted a scene where Derek squeezes Dougie's head between his python-thighs for his own enjoyment. One of Ricky's favourite past-times is squeezing Karl Pilkington's head (which is shaped like a fucking orange).
    • Dougie also has a number of moments where his rants sound suspiciously similar to Karl's own perspectives.
    • At one point, Gervais addresses through Derek the idea that religious people have a monopoly on niceness. Derek observes that both religious and non-religious people are capable of niceness and nastiness and believes that the way people treat each other is more important than their religious beliefs.
    • Gervais, known for being an atheist and actively speaking out against the existence of a God, subverts this with Derek himself, who is only uncertain that Heaven exists, but hopes that his Dad has gone to Heaven if it does.
  • Aside Glance: Dougie, with some frequency.
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  • Both Sides Have a Point: Toyed with during the 2014 Christmas Special regarding Kev. When Kev nearly causes a fire in the home due to shambling around drunkenly while Vicky tries to cook as part of a demonstration for her latest course, Hannah is entirely in the right to demand he get out for good, but is essentially made to see Derek's perspective by comparing Kev to the residents of the home. While Derek is partly in the wrong because Kev is a lecherous, drunken liability, Hannah eventually comes around and gives Kev a strong "The Reason You Suck" Speech which makes it plain what his problems are and why he's going to get better. So both Derek and Hannah are painted as being in the right - Derek arguably being more emotional and Hannah being more logical about how many chances he has left.
  • British Brevity: Counting the pilot and the Christmas special, the series is only fourteen episodes long.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: When Vicky threatens to shove Hannah's old schoolmate's head down the bog (toilet), Hannah quickly pulls her aside and says "don't you EVER shove her head down the bog without getting me to help you".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Derek, who explains everything.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Derek frequently misunderstands things he's told, will mention Kev's less than appealing comments in the blink of an eye or do any of the stupid things he tells him to do, and is quite obsessed with wondering who would win in a fight between two different animals.
  • Cringe Comedy
  • The Cynic: Dougie, who's resigned himself to his life.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tom and Dougie.
  • Disappeared Dad: Derek's parents got divorced while he was still an infant as a result of his father Anthony's struggle with alcoholism. It had a huge impact on Derek, and he's initially uncharacteristically unwilling to connect with Anthony when he tracks him down in the first season finale.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Derek misunderstands things a lot of the time, but he is devoid of malice and pretension and makes salient and succinct (if naive) points at other times about the benefits of kindness and being grateful for what you have. In the season 1 finale, Dougie says he'd rather be Derek than himself.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Animals are one of Derek's favourite things, and he loves being able to play with the shelter pets brought to Broad Hill on animal therapy day or trying to help or find animals in the garden.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Joan's death in the tail end of the pilot practically destroys Derek, having cherished her like he would his mother. He loves his job and the residents, but there isn't anything he hates more than how common an occurrence death is in his occupation.
    • Hannah is left distraught in the fourth episode of the second season when she miscarries.
    • Derek is reduced to levels of pained sobbing he'd never yet expressed when Ivor is about to be put to sleep because of kidney failure, desperately apologising for not having the right kidneys to be able to donate.
  • Hidden Depths: Dougie is, at first glance, a jerk who doesn't care. Actually, he cares very deeply about Derek, Hannah and the residents.
    • Kev at the end of episode seven.
      Kev:I'm not a failure because I didn't succeed, I'm a failure because I didn't try.
    • Derek, who appears not to get Kev's terrible jokes, but then reveals to Vicky that he does get the jokes, he just pretends he doesn't.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Series 2 brings us Geoff, who offers up a ridiculous stream of nonsense involving 'Humanzees' and their existence, and declares that there are goats with arms, which they use to 'milk themselves'.
  • It Amused Me: Kev's motivation for just about everything he does, and what he does is usually horrible. What few lines he won't cross, Geoff will.
  • Jerkass:
    • Kev and Dougie.
    • Special points go to the utterly despicable daughter of Margie, who doesn't care about her mother, assumes the carers are thieves and tosses aside her mother's precious memories just so she can add the wedding ring she believed she was entitled to as inheritance to her collection of gaudy jewelry.
    • Whereas he initially just seemed like a complete moron, Geoff hits new lows in Series Two as he actively bullies and abuses the residents of the care home. He steals money, leaves them entirely alone, verbally abuses the residents and threatens to physically abuse and humiliate one of the older men who has had his hair grow back, by revealing it to be a wig for laughs; and tells the animal-loving Derek that pets don't go to heaven. It takes one of the residents standing up to him and staring him down to expose him as a complete coward.
    • The chavs in the pilot episode, who insult Derek and Hannah when they are minding their own business during their time in the pub (fortunately, the situation turns into a CMOA when Hannah headbutts one of them).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Dougie. He's frequently exasperated by the events that take place in Broad Hill and not afraid to state how he feels about his shitty life matter-of-factly, and also just as quick to chew out anyone who talks shit about Derek or the residents in his earshot.
    • And later Kev. In the first series, he poignantly reflects on how he's glad to have Derek in a candid confession to the interview crew. In the second series, he actually drops the disgusting attitude to solemnly pat Tom on the shoulder after Hannah loses her baby.
      • Kev has now seriously embraced this trope. In Episode 5 of Series 2, the junk he was stealing was made into a sculpture of Derek's favourite dog, Ivor, after Hannah and Derek attend Ivor being put to sleep due to having cancer.
  • Kick the Dog: Geoff routinely does horrible things to the Broad Hill residents and staff, culminating in shaking up a can of drink and giving it to Derek to spray all over him just before he heads out on his first date because he was envious that he managed to get one.
  • Mama Bear: Hannah to Derek and the residents. She handily absorbs the personal insults Margie's daughter throws at her, but had to be physically restrained from coming to blows with her over remarks about Derek's capabilities as a staff member.
  • Mockumentary
  • Mood Whiplash: Invoked constantly, since it's a Gervais piece and expected, alongside the standard things to make you cringe. The second series invokes this early and hard with silliness ranging from Kev's usual antics and the attempts to catch a hideously large spider, to the sadly deceased Lizzie's song playing for Derek at one point and over the credits, plus the sudden mood change when Hannah is reading Derek's list of things he'd like; There are things he wishes for including pills to make him smart and pills to stop people being afraid of dying, and then at the very bottom of the list, he wishes that Hannah could have whatever she wanted to make her stop feeling unhappy.
  • Mr. Exposition: Derek, since he's the focus and it's a mockumentry.
  • Naked People Are Funny: After falling in the pond outside and fearing hypothermia, Derek sheds his wet clothes in a panic and runs nude through the common room to the bewilderment of everyone there.
  • Nice Guy: Derek is this entirely. He's selfless, sincere and sweet to everyone.
  • Papa Bear:
    • Despite his attitude, Dougie is extremely protective of the residents and Derek.
    • Surprisingly, Derek becomes one when Geoff violently pushes Kev into an end table, causing it to break. Derek pins Geoff up against the wall with a single-handed choke hold ''lifting him off the ground'', and only lets it go when he's assured Kev is okay. Derek then immediately breaks the hold and apologizes to Geoff for the outburst and goes right back into his general demeanor.
  • Parental Substitute: Derek's favourite resident in the pilot was Joan, a woman who really reminded him of his deceased mother. They went out every Wednesday to buy lottery tickets, and she was always letting Derek know that everything was ok whenever he accidentally broke something. Hannah dreads having to let him know about her passing even more than informing her family.
  • Pet the Dog: After Joan dies, Dougie repairs the painting she'd asked him to fix and he'd earlier dismissed as 'shit'.
  • Potty Failure: Kev deliberately shits his pants in the second episode without an ounce of shame.
  • Pornstache: Kev.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dougie gives a short but awesome one to Margie's horrible daughter. Before that, he also delivers one to the department worker desperately looking to save money by closing Broad Hill down, revealing just how much work Hannah puts in and how the department worker focuses just on money. The department worker leaves wordlessly after this - Dougie earns a round of applause from the residents at the home.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe example - Once Dougie leaves early in series 2, Geoff assumes his responsibilities, but is thoroughly disliked by the staff and residents until late into the last episode.
    • The Christmas Special shows that he has become friends with most of the staff and residents, and even enjoys the "Who Would Win?" conversations with Derek that Dougie could barely endure.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Dougie decides to quit his job after being electrocuted by a powerpoint he was repairing towards the end of the Season 2 opener, following an ill-fated attempt to catch a spider and putting up with Geoff's remarks.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Derek works at the home, but is seldom seen doing anything that could be construed as work.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Vicky is initially only at Broad Hill to serve community service and wasn't the best person to be around, but she quickly befriends Hannah, warms up to the place and starts coming back as a volunteer.
    • Geoff seems to act a lot more nicer towards many of the staff and residents in the final episode of the series.
  • Wham Episode: Episode five of season two follows on from Hannah miscarrying in the prior episode, with her relationship with Tom collapsing after he voices his intention to go back to overseas military work. In the interim, Anthony's alcoholism reaches a breaking point when Hannah forbids him from drinking whisky due to the ill effects on his health, Kev's new hobby in making sculptures causes more chaos in the home than anything else he's done to that point, all topped off with Derek's favorite dog Ivor being euthanised after a cancer diagnosis and Hannah breaking up with Tom.
  • Wham Line: "He's dead," in the final episode of series two. It had been quite well foreshadowed thanks to the ill health of Derek's dad being shown on screen, but it still hits hard. It can be viewed as a real crowning moment of heartwarming, as Derek is naturally upset, but happy that his dad died content and happy with family next to him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the pilot, Derek is romantically pursued by Lizzie's granddaughter Mary, but Derek had a crush on Hannah at the time, and had to rebuke her. By the end of the episode, he decides to get together with Mary instead. That's the first and last time we ever see or hear from her apart from Lizzie's funeral.
  • Who Would Win: Derek loves asking (and annoying) the others about highly inane fights between two animals. The moment he gets his own phone, he asks Siri about a fight and ends up thoroughly confused when it brings up a recipe instead.
  • A World Half Full: A minor one, due to the show's Slice of Life nature, but this is the general outlook of most everyone on the show. The employees at the home might be not get the best looking, or most charming individuals. They might not be rich, or have the most job security. But hey, in the end, they have each other, and they're all kind, honest people, and that's enough.